The first legal medical marijuana delivery companies have been licensed in Michigan, making it far easier for patients who are prescribed medical cannabis but are restricted in how much they can travel.
The three Michigan companies that received the licenses are Utopia Gardens and BotaniQ in Detroit and Lake Effect in Kalamazoo County.
The marijuana deliveries are being allowed under the new rules from the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency. The system will allow marijuana deliveries directly to the patient’s home.
Allowing marijuana delivery is part of an overhaul that Michigan is making to its medical marijuana laws. The state also is gearing up for legal recreational marijuana sales, which were approved by voters in November 2018.
How Marijuana Delivery Works
The Michigan law offers insight into how delivery might work in other places, as well.
Utopia Gardens has put time into creating a planned system for deliveries. The business first applied for state licensing at the beginning of 2019. The business owners talked with Crain’s Detroit Business about how deliveries will work.
Utopia Gardens plans to only take orders of $45 or more for delivery. There is no delivery fee, but the company initially plans to only deliver in and around the downtown area. The marijuana delivery drivers will accept debit cards only, not cash.
Other rules, some mandated by state law, include:
- Deliveries can only be made to those who have state-issued medical marijuana cards
- The delivery address must match the address on the patient’s driver’s license
- Customers must send a photo of both their medical marijuana card and state-issued ID before delivery can be made
- Patients can only be delivered 2.5 ounces or less with each order
- Patients cannot order a total of more than 10 ounces per month
The above laws cover much of the interactions between the driver and the customer. State regulations also dictate how delivery companies must operate. The rules, compiled by High Times, include:
- To make their home delivery business legal, dispensaries must hire their own delivery drivers – no contracting with a third party
- Dispensaries licensed for home delivery must document and track all inventory that is used for delivery
- All delivery vehicles must be tracked with GPS
High Times also reported that some dispensaries are considering using dash cams in the marijuana delivery vehicles and even putting body cams on delivery drivers. Jevin Weyenberg, general manager of Lake Effect, is reported in High Times as saying that “we want to make sure everything is secure. We want to make sure we’re a hard target for any criminal that might try anything.”
The law is designed to increase access to medical marijuana. Many patients who are prescribed marijuana by a doctor, including those who suffer from chronic pain, may find it difficult to drive to a dispensary.